The offensive line of the Buccaneers hasn’t seen a ‘mean streak’ in it for many seasons now. Let us breakdown how the Bucs lineup regarding the O-Line. With last season additions of Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet, through the 2015 draft, and the free agency pick-up of guard J.R. Sweezy, toughness has begun to be restored again. Kevin Pamphile, who’s usual position occupies the right tackle spot, has been called to fill in at left guard for a recovering Sweezy. Pamphile has had a phenomenal training camp, and has especially been mentioned by head coach Dirk Koetter for his hard work. Starting right tackle Demar Dotson just inked a 3-year deal, which was earned for his consistent play. Then we arrive at Evan Smith and Joe Hawley.
Throughout training camp the battle for center between Smith and Hawley is said to be a solid battle. As camp continues, both players are splitting first team reps at center. Quarterback Jameis Winston seems to be comfortable with either player, mainly calling out coverages and snapping the ball. While both Hawley and Smith both bring toughness, the nastiness that Hawley possesses just brings a beefed-up element. According to media reports, Hawley explains the mentality and physicality needed for the offensive line.
“Yeah, it’s a physical sport and you can’t get pushed around, especially at a positon like offensive line,” Hawley said. “So if you have a unit, a bunch of guys that have each other’s back that play hard and play with passion it’s pretty tough to go against.”
Hawley also addressed his similarity to DE Robert Ayers.
“Yeah he’s the same kind of fiery guy – glad to have him on our team,” Hawley said. “He’s been making us better.”
For now, no one knows what the future will bring when these movements are cemented. Either way, offensive line coach George Warhop deserves much credit in what he’s done. With his approach to teaching every offensive lineman every position on the line, this not only helps with the Bucs lack of depth, but also teaches players other skills. Koetter’s offense is one that needs nastiness and an aggressive front five to get those RBs to the second level.
The Bucs head to Jacksonville tomorrow for joint practices with the Jags before their matchup on Saturday evening. The talent on the Jags defensive line will be great work for the entire team, especially the offensive line.